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More than Dining: How to enhance your restaurant experience

Posted in: News & Special Events
More than Dining: How to enhance your restaurant experience

Restaurant staff are trained to be friendly yet professional, handle problems discreetly and efficiently, and make expert recommendations regarding food and wine. Ideally, your night out with these trained professionals should go off without a hitch. Very few things in life, though, go as smoothly as they should, despite your careful planning.

Sometimes the restaurant gets overbooked, or a waiter trips and spills food or drinks. Sometimes the kitchen runs out of a key ingredient, and sometimes other diners are more aggressive than you are, which would make it seem that they’re getting better treatment as a result (trust me, if staff are bending over backward for a rude guest, it’s more likely because they want to get them done and gone than out of respect for their rudeness).

Yes, things happen. How you react is crucial. Many incidents are out of anyone’s control, but there are things that you can take into your own hands to kick your culinary experience up a notch.

The staff at Cafe L’Europe treat every diner like a superstar; however, it is possible to cultivate an even deeper relationship, ensuring a meaningful interaction every time you visit.

Here are a few expert tips for getting the VIP treatment at any restaurant. Trying out even a few will almost always net amazing results.

Cafe L’Europe offers happy hour every night 5:00 – 7:00 in our bar area

Sit at the bar. Try having appetizers or a meal there. Chat with the bartender; ask if the owner is around and introduce yourself to him or her. Pro tip: eating at our bar ensures that you get happy hour pricing on eligible drinks – ask your bartender about times and menus.

Ask the waiter these two questions: What dish is most popular? What is a dish that almost no one orders but the chef thinks everyone should? Order them both! Chefs take pride in all of their dishes, but often have an item on the menu they are especially proud of and want people to try.

If you like it, come back for two more meals that same week. The staff will remember you, and you’ll get automatic VIP status (as long as you’re nice to them!).

Waitstaff are people, too.

Be forgiving. As I mentioned earlier, sometimes we have to wait, get spilled on, or get the wrong dish. Diners who were good sports when all didn’t go as planned are remembered positively by the staff. A little patience goes a long way; if the restaurant knows it messed up, you can score major points by not making a big deal about it (or using it as an excuse to try to score freebies!).

Send compliments to the chef – especially when you are specific about what you like. It sounds way too simple – but it’s almost always appreciated. You could also mention the chef by name in your online review of the restaurant. Not everyone does so, but it’s a simple courtesy that people notice and remember.

Tip 25% if you like the food, atmosphere, and good service. This is rule of thumb. If you can’t afford to tip properly, then you can’t afford that restaurant. Note: if the service was great but you didn’t love the food, don’t penalize the server for what was not under their control. If you have a food-related complaint, let your server know as soon as possible, so that they may correct the problem and get your meal back on track.

Ask for wine recommendations. Unless you see a wine you know and like on the menu, put your waiter’s training to good use – and then take the recommendation! The waiter will remember you on subsequent visits and be more than happy to grant you top-shelf service.

Ask to be treated like a VIP. SO OBVIOUS. But it works. Call the manager, talk to him/her about your love of the restaurant, and mention that you would entertain there a lot if you could be sure your party would be nicely looked after. And keep your word!

Ideally, you’ll always receive top-notch, professional service at any decent restaurant you patronize; however, by following these insider tips, you’ll ensure that your experience goes above and beyond each and every time. – Bobbilynn Hollifield



Source: Will Schwalbe (former editor-in-chief of Hyperion Books)



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What Does the Holiday Season Mean to You?

Posted in: News & Special Events
What Does the Holiday Season Mean to You?


For many of us, the holidays are for family, friends and festivity. That being said, why stress and slave over the menu when you still have to go last minute gift shopping, decorate and pick up grandma and grandpa from the airport? If you haven’t yet perfected the art of roasting a turkey with your mind (because who has time to learn?), you needn’t worry – you just need a helping hand. But…who? Who has the expertise to whip up a stellar holiday meal, serve drinks and clean up after?


I’m not talking about Rosie the robot from the Jetsons. Better – the Café L’Europe catering team. Our team brings the magic to your event – impeccable food, professional service and spotless cleanup. The passion shows in each of our team members; your satisfaction is what we crave!


Dates are filling up quickly, so give us a call at 941.388.4415 ext. 4 to check availability. Once the Café L’Europe team is on board, you’ll be free to worry about other things – like keeping in-laws civil, pets under control and kids on their best behavior.


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Like amazing, fresh Gulf seafood? Love beautiful music? We’ve got you covered!

Posted in: News & Special Events

Tonight is a great night to join us for dinner! Chef Rolando has, yet again, created a mouthwatering dinner special: Gulf-fresh Grouper Oscar, which is served with French-style roasted potatoes, tomatoes and a light Beurre Blanc.
0819 grouper

And then you have Cassie’s newest creation: a fresh-berry daiquiri.

Berry Daquiri

Throw in Rob Satori on the piano and you’ve got a trifecta that the rain can’t dampen!


Call 941.388.4415 to reserve your table, or book on our website at

See you tonight!

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Cafe L’Europe Gets a Makeover

Posted in: News & Special Events
Cafe L’Europe Gets a Makeover

As you probably know, Cafe L’Europe changed ownership on August 1, 2016. Since then, Ron Milton and Joe Balzano, the restaurant’s new owners, have worked diligently to make tweaks and improvements to service, food and decor. In fact, the whole restaurant got a fresh update with new carpeting, new furniture and finishing touches that collaboratively breathe fresh air into the 43-year old establishment. Take a peek for yourself! To see the full album, visit







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He worked his way to Cafe L'Europe

Posted in: News & Special Events

Sarasota Herald Tribune | By ABBY WEINGARTEN, Correspondent | Published: Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Rolando Casillas of Café L’Europe on St. Armands Circle has spent the past 21 years working up to “executive chef” status, he says.

Originally from Mexico, he moved to Sarasota in 1994 to work at the Oaks Club, after years of living and cooking in New York City. He has collaborated with global culinary masters to bring an international flavor to the posh eatery’s current menu.

Q: Tell me about your culinary background.

A:When I originally came to this country from Mexico, it was supposed to be for a short time to help my brother with his restaurant in New York City. My plans were to continue as an engineer, but within a few months of working alongside my brother, I discovered how much I loved working in the kitchen. Even today, I still use my engineering skills and I love using my hands. I get great satisfaction from creating something that is both delicious and beautiful.

Q: Who inspires your cooking?

A:The chefs I’ve met over the years. I’ve worked with some amazingly talented international masters from around the world-from France, Germany, the Czech Republic, and of course, New York City.

Q: Have you experimented with different styles to find your specialty area?

A:When I first started cooking, I was focusing on the classic American cuisines, but with my growth and the opportunity to work with talented international chefs, I became more focused on European dishes. I loved the style, the preparation, the thought that went into each dish and how the flavors complemented each other. European cuisine is grand, elegant and a wonderful experience, and now that I’m working at Café L’Europe, I want our guests to have that same experience and satisfaction.

Q: How do you feel when you see someone enjoying your food?

At the end of the day, when you’re exhausted from working in a hot kitchen, the pace is go-go-go and you just want to go home and put your feet up, you walk out on the restaurant floor and see how happy everyone is. It validates my hard work and decision to leave engineering behind. I go home every night to my family knowing I made someone a great meal.

Please click here to read the whole article

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Restaurants that go to the dogs

Posted in: News & Special Events

Date: November 6, 2013
by: Mallory Gnaegy | A&E Editor

Café L’Europe is the fine dining of dog friendly. Whether your pup is sophisticated with a well-honed palate, or just plain spoiled — this is the spot. Your dog will be well attended and his water (with ice) will never go dry. There’s not only the option for bottled water “for the pampered pooch,” as the dog menu reads, but there’s also steak tartare, grilled chicken with steamed carrots and dog ice cream, to name a few.

To read the rest of the article at – click here.

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